By Jessica Dye
NEW YORK, Dec 3 (Reuters) - She shouldn't have said yes to
Samantha Shea watched in "horror" as the zipper split on her
ivory wedding gown before a cocktail reception at the Gansevoort
Hotel, just an hour prior to the ceremony, according to a ruling
from a small claims judge. With guests and staff waiting, Shea
paid two hotel housekeepers $200 to sew her into the dress, a
temporary fix that prevented her from using the restroom for six
hours, the ruling said.
District Judge Gary Knobel ordered seamstress Dalia Cohen to
pay $1500 to Shea as compensation.
"The ensuing 'nightmare,' as the plaintiff described it at
trial, allegedly robbed the plaintiff of experiencing the joy of
her very special day," Knobel wrote in a ruling dated Nov. 26.
According to testimony from a September bench trial, Shea
purchased the gown in May for $599 and hired Cohen, a
seamstress, for $600 to perform alterations. Between Shea's last
fitting and when she picked up the dress two days before the
ceremony, Cohen said she replaced the original zipper, which was
broken, the ruling said.
Shea said she did not try the dress on again until an hour
before the ceremony, shortly before the reception was scheduled
to start on the rooftop of the Gansevoort in the Meatpacking
District, the ruling said. When the zipper split, bridesmaid
Joanne Zambuto testified that she and Shea were "scared and
didn't know what to do." Zambuto frantically called Cohen, who
allegedly said she could be at the hotel in two hours, the
That's when Shea decided to pay the housekeepers to sew her
into the dress, the ruling said.
Shea filed a lawsuit against Cohen in Nassau County District
Court seeking $1,000 for breaching an oral agreement to properly
alter the dress. Cohen acknowledged that she was responsible for
the replacement and said she was "devastated" when she was
driving on the highway toward Manhattan and received a text
message telling her not to come to the hotel because her
services were no longer needed.
But Cohen told the judge that the split zipper wasn't her
fault, saying at trial, "it's nature."
Knobel sided with Shea, and awarded her more than the $1,000
she had requested. In addition to the cost of the ruined dress
and the $600 she paid Cohen, Cohen will have to compensate Shea
for the $200 she gave to the hotel housekeepers who sewed her
into her dress, and the $100 she paid to the officiating
minister due to the delayed ceremony, Knobel ruled.
Shea and Cohen, neither of whom was represented by a lawyer,
could not be immediately reached for comment.
The case is Shea v. Cohen, Nassau County District Court,
Second District Small Claims Part, No. 2182-2012.
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